I’M delighted to report that that the Welsh EBA’s annual reunion, held this month at Taff’s Well Social Club, Cardiff, was another great success.
Reader John R. Beale wrote to say: “My wife and I were the guests of former Welsh featherweight Gordon Blakey and his wife, Stella. Always receives a loud amount of applause, does Gordon; a very popular man.” (Gordon boxed professionally between 1957 and 1961, winning 22 of 30 contests. In 1960 he met compatriot Howard Winstone, future British, European and WBC champion, then on 14 straight wins – Gordon was forced to retire after eight rounds.)
“Cyril Thomas was the MC again, and announced the many awards that were being presented. First up was European Games gold medallist Lauren Price at middleweight, and she received a well-deserved round of applause from the packed house.
“Also presented with an award for his services to Welsh boxing was former WBU champion and WBC challenger, now a successful trainer, Gary Lockett. Writer Wynford Thomas presented Gary’s award, saying that the calm and controlled manner with which Gary worked his fighters’ corners was an example to all trainers and cornermen.
“Francis Galliotti was presented with an award for his dedication to the sport over many years.
“Special mention was made of the Ringside Rest and Care organisation. Treasurer Paul Fairweather thanked everyone for their donations, and had a host of RR&C goodies for sale.
“The food and entertainment were of the usual excellent calibre, and
everyone was their usual friendly and welcoming selves. A great annual event
that is always well-attended. Long may it continue.”
I quite agree, John and many thanks for the report. A lot of organisation goes into these events, so well done to everyone involved. You deserved to have a good turn-out, and clearly you did.
Another award we should mention went to the man behind Ringside Rest and Care, and the founder of the British Boxing Hall of Fame, Dave Harris, who was honoured with the Johnny Owen Award.
Two ardent Welsh fans are Sylvia and Geraint Richards, who regularly make the trip to attend London EBA’s monthly meeting. They did this month, and were given a special welcome.
As so often, a minute’s silence was held for those who had passed on, and in his President’s Report Stephen Powell paid tribute to fine champions Jose Napoles and Jean-Claude Bouttier: former trainer Beau Williford, who, Stephen said, did a lot to help people: and Phyllis Burling, mother of Tommy – Essex EBA Chairman and London Vice-President. Condolences were offered to Tommy on behalf of the whole Association, and Tommy in his turned thanked everyone who had sent flowers, cards and messages.
Tommy Mulholland said the Gary Davidson Golf Classic, in honour of Sammy Reeson, had gone very well – raising a handsome sum for the former fighter – and he thanked LEBA for their help and encouragement. He said there was nearly a “full house” at the dinner, and praised Home Counties EBA Chairman Bob Williams for doing a “fantastic” job as auctioneer.
Incidentally, ITV are currently running a Pride of Britain campaign, and Stephen Powell suggested that Tommy and LEBA Vice-President Peter Kent should be nominated for all their charity work. Details are on the ITV website.
Jimmy Batten’s charity event in aid of the Ringside Rest and Care Home also went well. Guest of Honour was former world light-heavyweight champion John Conteh – and a few days later John and LEBA Secretary/Treasurer Ray Caulfield visited Chelmsford ABC (for whom Ray boxed in the 1960s). Ray amused the audience with reminiscences of his fighting days, and John displayed his WBC belt and happily signed autographs. This is so much what EBAs are about – supporting and encouraging the boxers of today, not simply reminiscing about the past and helping ex-boxers in need (though the latter, of course, is extremely important). I’ve no doubt this was an evening the Chelmsford boxers will always remember.